Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cisco: 802.11ac Client Cards, Location Analytics and Snapdragons! #WFD4


Brian Hart (Strategic Initiatives Group) and Mark Denny gave us the 802.11ac update. We had a show and tell with the 802.11ac module (looks just like the monitor module. We also were shown two 802.11ac clients. A Linksys 1x1 802.11ac USB wireless adapter and a Netgear USB adapter.

Cisco Update on 802.11ac with Mark Denny and Brian Hart from Stephen Foskett on Vimeo.

The adoption timeline for CY2012 is consumer devices will be available from Linksys/Netgear in Q2. The first 802.11ac laptops will start shipping in Q4 2012. For CY2013, Wave 1 Q2 and 802.11ac mobile devices Q3 For CY2014, Wave 2 Q1, Client proliferation in Q2 and 802.11ac wave 2 starts to roll out in Q4 of 2014.

Multi User MIMO and the 4th spatial stream will be the big news items as 802.11ac progresses.

Jeevan Patil presented an overview on the 3850 Unified Access switch and the 5760 controller. The breakdown of the Cisco tagline "One Policy, One Management, One Network" is as follows:

Cisco Converged Access & Wireless Controller 5760 with Jeevan Patil from Stephen Foskett on Vimeo.

One policy = ISE
One Management = Prime
One Network = 5760 & 3850

These controllers are not replacing all the other controllers in the portfolio, these platforms allow for more options in designing a robust wireless infrastructure. The 3850 can support 1- 50 aps per switch/stack for directly connected APs, 2k clients per stack and a 40Gbps aggregate uplink capacity per switch. Converged access mode is where the access points terminate the data plane on the switch. This creates a single point of policy enforcement. The encrypted wireless user data can be acted upon as the data reaches the switch port instead of needing the encrypted data to get back to a centralized controller before you can apply QoS or utilize Application Visibility Control on the wireless data.

Controller licensing is moving to a Right TO Use (RTU) trust based model and RTU licensing is built into the universal images. There is a single CLI to turn on any license level, the customer agrees to the EULA and you can move licenses between 3850s and 3850s /and/ 3850s to 5760s /and/ 5760s to 5760s.

The connected mobile experiences was covered by Jagdish Girimaji and Mir Alami

Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences with Jagdish Girimaji from Stephen Foskett on Vimeo.

The goal of the connected mobile experience is to detect presence, connect customers and engage them. With the MSE & 7.4 code, retailers can get visibility into where the customers are within their stores and venues. Cisco recently purchased a company called ThinkSmart Technologies and is beginning to integrate location analytics into the MSE. It is possible to track non-associated clients if their Wi-Fi is turned on, yes - the client does not need to be associated to be detected and tracked. If a customer has downloaded a retailers application and have it installed on their smart phone, the Cisco infrastructure can automatically associate the client to the retailer's guest wireless network without the end user interacting with the app at all. The customer example is for Target stores, and the app can be made to automatically launch when the smartphone is detected as having the app installed and being in the proximity of the wireless network. Cisco has done a considerable amount of work with Qualcomm to embed the Mobility Services Application Protocol (MSAP) into the firmware at the silicon level (mostly Android devices). The new Android devices with the Snapdragon silicon in them will be able to take advantage of automatically discovering services (pre-association).

Pinpointing user locations is not currently possible, so stores will be divided into multiple zones. The accuracy they spec is 5m accuracy. In the next 6-9 months there may be improvements in that level of accuracy. The notification to the end user is done over the 3G or 4G prior to the user being associated to the 802.11 wireless network.

This level of tracking capability spurned a lively conversation about the security ramifications of having your wireless auto connect without you interacting with the application at all. The authorization to associate will probably be buried in the EULA of the app when you download it. Some users may take issue with their MAC address being detected and targeted for data pushes to the device. The Seattle Airport and Copenhagen airports have taken part in a study to determine how many devices pass through the airport at any given time. 

Mir Alami went over the infrastructure features of the Location Services Topology and explained how the users associate/authenticate and are interacted with via the MSE/custom built app. He walked through a demonstration of how the application would work and possibly send coupons/maps or other information to the targeted customer. The custom application does not have to be running and you do not need to be logged into the guest wifi to get this information push.

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